08 Nov2008

I received this email today that made me both so incredibly sad and so humbled by the “reach” of the internet. I would normally answer such an email privately, but something about this particular email made me want to publish it verbatim, with the exception of the full name of the sender and contact information. I hope I have not offended you by publishing this, but this is perhaps the single most poignant, yet heartwarming (if not tear jerking) email I have EVER received on marketmanila.com. There were others that were close, but none like this. I know this is predominantly a food website, with an occasional rant and a rare restaurant review… but it has also turned into a fairly large community of food lovers, 97% of whom choose never to leave a comment at all, 99% of whom I do not personally know, yet who come back day after day or whenever they feel like it. But read the email first, then allow me to blather on some more…

“thanks for the memories


i am writing to express my deepest gratitude for all the recipes and blogs you have diligently put up on your site. my brother passed away last month, october 25th, after at least a two-year battle with acute lymphocytic leukemia here in canada. he was 23 and he fought so hard.

all the while he was in treatment and in the last three months in the hospital, i would tell him about your site. lingaw kaayo siya, labaw na tong nahitabo tungod sa “fishpan” og sa “boneholder”. we speak ilonggo and bisaya, so it was a laugh.

he always wanted to learn how to cook, and when he\’d get the chance, ask me how a recipe goes. even the week and a day before he passed, when he could still speak, he wanted to know “ngano wala’y lumpiang shanghai sa shanghai, og ngano wa’y pancit canton sa canton?”

salamat kaayo. may the lord favour you and keep you ever mindful of the needs of others.


F., thank you so much for this email. I am so incredibly sorry for your family’s loss and my prayers will be with you and your brother. This email has touched me so much that I could not even read it to my family, I had to ask them to read it for themselves. We too, have known of at least three friends or acquaintances who have passed away from cancer in the last few months or are battling it as I type this. All in their 40’s or younger, and with so much of their lives still ahead of them, and it truly seems all so unfair… That the content of this silly blog (and the infamous fish pan post at that) would bring even a few seconds of amusement, diversion, solace to an individual who was terminally ill with cancer was definitely something I did not expect. And I hope that marketmanila’s readers who pause for a moment to read this post, see the unexpected ways we can touch other peoples lives in positive ways without even knowing it. And F, where your brother is now, I am certain he has the best chefs to teach him how to cook…



  1. dizzy says:

    Mr. MM, you really touch a lot of people’s lives through this blog. And it’s not just because of your love and passion for food, but it’s because of the way you share it with your readers — with utmost sincerity and honesty. Not a single bit of pretentiousness. Many thanks.

    Nov 8, 2008 | 10:47 pm


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  3. Lory Baylon says:

    Dear Marketmanila,
    I’ve been reading your blog for more than two years now.This is my Daily Bread version of the food blogs. I am really sad if you don’t have a new post everyday.One of my joys here in Saudi arabia is reading your food blogs. Congratulations with your recent encounter with Anthony Bourdain. I always watches his show in BBC Foods.Hope you will not get tired of writing and thank you because marketmanila always makes my day brighter.
    Good luck and God bless.

    Nov 8, 2008 | 11:15 pm

  4. Thel says:

    Ditto dizzy.

    Bless your heart MM for giving so much for so many people!!

    Nov 8, 2008 | 11:24 pm

  5. Michelle says:

    A perfect reminder of how we (can) touch other people’s lives. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of it…F’s brother will be in my prayer this evening…MM, thank you for the little bit of joy this blog brings to all of us. I know, it has become a part of my daily life.

    Nov 8, 2008 | 11:37 pm

  6. betty q. says:

    This post is aptly titled, MM!!!..In my book, there are two things that bring people together from all walks of life…FOOD AND LAUGHTER written by you just the way it is!!! If I were not to come home today, so many things to be thankful for…one of which is this blog…besides you…there are so many people though I have never met them, have come to know them and I have had my share of “STOMACHES” ROLLING OFF MY CHAIR, TEARS, etc.

    F…please allow me to thank you for sharing your loss to us. I once read an article in 19 kopong kopong …”WHAT TO SAY TO SOMEONE WHO HAS LOST A LOVE ONE”…article said…say NOTHING! but just hold their hand, give them a hug because at that very moment, NO WORDS CAN EASE THE PAIN!!!

    I envy your brother for now he gets to meet JULIA CHILD!!!!

    Nov 8, 2008 | 11:59 pm

  7. shalimar says:

    am loss with words….

    Nov 9, 2008 | 12:28 am

  8. belle says:

    sir mm,

    i read your blog more than i watch tv.. it’s become a daily devotional for me.. yet i never thought your blog can touch a life like that… so sir mm tuloy nyo lang po what you do and i hope more will come your way, we enjoy the thoughts you share… so thanks!

    Nov 9, 2008 | 1:44 am

  9. natie says:

    it still amazes me how far we are from each other but we have the ability to ”hold each others’ hands” through the internet. thanks, MM, for the reminder.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 1:45 am

  10. eej says:

    So touching. Who would have thought a few strokes on a keyboard will brighten and touch someone’s life. Keep in mind, that anything we do causes a ripple effect across humanity. Just think of how big a responsibility that is.

    MM, keep plodding along and share your passion to the world.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 1:50 am

  11. tnm says:

    Wow, this email is so powerful. I am a cancer specialist and see patients like this everyday and can understand the impact of your blog on such a young, unfortunate soul. We celebrate small victories like these, things that somehow make a patient forget what they are going thru… you know, be normal if just for a while. Thanks for publishing.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 6:11 am

  12. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Hi MM!
    My youngest daughter introduced me to your blog way back and I used to just read. Now that I have en “empty nest”I look forward to reading your blog everyday. Missed your posts these past few days! Welcome back to you and your family. You truly touch many lives. Me–included. In your own way you are God’s messenger of love.
    That was truly a touching letter. He is now in a better world than ours.
    Reading your blogs,trying out recipes,travelling with your family makes my days.We ourselves passed through so many family tragedies the past years and your blog has been a solace.
    I used to travel a lot and I share the enthusiasm with which you deal with life. I also enjoy the company of your “readers”. I feel like I belong to a “family” here.
    Thank you bettyq.I used to go to Vancouver often. I now have a daughter who lives in Toronto.We may be relocating there soon. I was successful with your tocino and cutchinta recipes.My son and husband say my cutchinta is superb.Daghan salamat!.My ube-puto is another story! Disaster -after two tries. And I can’t even figure out what I did wrong. LOL.
    Kudos to you and your family MM! You have touched my life.My youngest daughter(with another daughter) who now lives in Singapore also enjoys your blog so much! Thank you MM…you are always in my prayers.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 7:06 am

  13. mary grace says:

    thanks a million for giving us your readers “the famous” and “the unknown” but they touch our lives in just the same way. i believe that nothing happens by accident but everything happens for a purpose. marketmanila.com is by no means an accident.
    more power to you MM and to your blog.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 7:19 am

  14. PanchoA says:

    Yes, Marketman, you’ve made yourself a good and positive part of our lives. Definitely a plus.

    For news, we go to the news sites. For inspiration, there’s Bob Gass, Max Lucado, etc. Whatever it’s for, Market Manila is still a daily stop and a worthwhile one.

    Just keep on doing what you’re doing, regardless. Blessings to you as well!

    Nov 9, 2008 | 7:30 am

  15. krizteene says:

    I’m certainly with you, MM. Indeed we can truly touch other people’s lives one way or another through this medium. It’s such a powerful one that some even use it to take advantage of others. But that aside, though sad, I am still glad to learn that through your blog, you’ve helped F. and his brother realize that there are still things to look forward to even when faced with such an illness. There are things to talk about aside from it and there are things that we can still laugh about heartily even if the thought of passing away is near.

    God bless you, MM and family.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 9:14 am

  16. maryjoan says:

    Your site, MM, brings together people who share your love for food and compassion for those in need. this is the invisible thread that binds us readers together – and you are the golden needle that sews us to each other – guided by the invisible hand of the omnipotent Tailor of the universe.
    you have been blesed with so much, now the Lord is asking you to bless others. Congratulations on fulfilling your life’s purpose, which sadly is elusive to many of us. God bless you and the readers of this site (and to F and his family as well).

    Nov 9, 2008 | 9:26 am

  17. Lex says:

    Like many of your readers, I read your blog and check several times a day for new postings. I get disappointed when you are too busy to post that day.

    What makes you blog different is that you make every reader feel they are important. You respond to many readers which you feel deserve a response. You share you feelings, secrets (many of them at least), opinions and advice without reservations. I read many food blogs and some just as famous as yours. Leaving constructive comments in their blogs is an exercise in futility. We get no feed back whatsoever.

    What makes your blog great too are the interesting comments of your readers. I can tell by the responses that many not only read your blog but also the readers’ comments. It is no wonder that you have touched many lives and continue to do so. May you continually be blessed with all the goodwill you have spread.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 10:11 am

  18. millet says:

    thank you for sharing the e-mail, MM. many times, our actions have unintended results that account for their greatest results. please tell “F” i said a prayer for his brother.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 10:13 am

  19. maryjoan says:

    allow me MM, to say to marissewalangkaparis: we now share a bond of frustration, for i too have tried the ube puto twice, and came out with ube cuchinta twice! hehehe

    Nov 9, 2008 | 10:20 am

  20. Mila says:

    MM thank you for posting F’s letter. F, my prayers and condolences to you and your family. A blog may not bring your brother back, but it brings those of us reading it a bit closer.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 10:26 am

  21. ragamuffin girl says:

    the lives we touch indeed. wonderful what one man, and one blog, can do. do continue to spread the cheer, the stories and the recipes, MM. it’s heartwarming how you and your readers are so connected, and become part of each others’ lives, albeit through a computer screen.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 11:02 am

  22. siegrez says:

    My prayers to F’s brother and family. God be with them.

    it may just be a blog MM, but surely it has touched not just one but i think thousands of lives. “GOD BLESS YOU MM & YOUR FAMILY”

    Nov 9, 2008 | 11:24 am

  23. pulutan says:

    “If a man does his best whatelse is there” General George S. Patton

    I see that “man” in you, MM. More power to your blogs and keep up the good work.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 11:33 am

  24. cumin says:

    F, I am so sorry about your family’s loss. But also happy that while he lived, your brother was able to take joy from being part of this foodie community. When I log on, I really do feel part of a community, thanks to MM and all the readers who make our lives feel richer and more humane through their advice, encouragement, humour, excitement, and commitment. Thanks, guys, for keeping this real.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 12:35 pm

  25. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Maryjoan…hahahaha…for someone who cooks a lot–that is a frustration to me. To have ube putchinta. My husband good naturedly tastes–but his eyes roll. Ha ha ha. Will let you know if I get it–and what I did wrong.
    But an offshoot is I made a grainy type halaya with the extra grated ube.I’ll cook this for the holidays when we have a lot of balikbayans. We’re bonded maryjoan!!! Happy Sunday!!

    Nov 9, 2008 | 12:40 pm

  26. Marketman says:

    marissa and maryjoan, the answer may be exceedingly simple. Did you use GLUTINOUS rice flour? If so, don’t. USE just plain rice flour. And don’t forget the regular wheat flour for gluten. The glutinous rice flour would turn your puto into a more gelatenous mess…

    Nov 9, 2008 | 12:47 pm

  27. SIMELYPOITO says:

    my condelences to “F” and family, and KUDOS to Mr. MM…you sure are touching many lives!!! keep up the good work!

    Nov 9, 2008 | 1:09 pm

  28. Maricel says:

    My deepest condolences to F and family. May I humbly request prayers from MarketManila readers for the 2 1/2 yr old grandson of a family friend who was recently diagnosed with the same illness as F’s brother.
    Bless you MM for touching the lives of and bringing joy to so many different people.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 2:06 pm

  29. bagito says:

    MM, thank you for sharing such a touching e-mail. I’m glad your blog was able to bring joy to F.’s brother at the time he needed it most.

    F., our deepest condolences to you and your family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

    Maricel, consider it done.

    God bless MM and all the readers of and commenters on this blog. (and yes, blessings even the lurkers) :)

    Nov 9, 2008 | 2:42 pm

  30. bagito says:

    for the lurkers, I mean… :)

    Nov 9, 2008 | 2:43 pm

  31. betty q. says:

    To Maricel…your family friend’s grandson will be included in my prayers as well….if it’s not too much to ask, may I know his name? I would like to ask our Parish Priest to offer a Mass in his name…even his initials would do!

    Marisse and MaryJoan…how did your UBE “PUKOY” (this name was given by DADD-F’S son) taste like? Yup, MM is right! Using GLUTINOUS RICE FLOUR would turn your kakanin to PUKOY!!! I find it easier to have the ingredients ready on hand BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY….get that steamer going before you start mixing the ube puto ingredients. It only takes less than 5 minutes to mix everything together. I add the FLOUR and BAKING POWDER last and just right before I scoop them into the baby muffin tins. I fill the tins just 3/4 full….Has anyone tried the Tibok Tibok yet?

    Nov 9, 2008 | 5:19 pm

  32. maryjoan says:

    marisse, i know the reaction – my husband said “ano yan???”!!!” hahahaha! MM, i think i know where i went wrong, the baking powder and yes, the rice flour came from thailand so it’s probably glutinous even if it wasn’t indicated on the package. well, as they say – the third’s a charm so i hope to get it right next time. thanks a lot MM and marisse!

    Nov 9, 2008 | 5:27 pm

  33. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Yup,I used plain rice flour…hmmmm…i think it’s the wheat flour ..let me try that again.Yup,I always boil the steamer first… Hihihi…poor hubby..and sons. Guinea pig tasters. Thanks bettyq,maryjoan and esp MM. Fun! Hahahaha….

    Maricel,will include lil boy in my prayers.
    Hmmmm…let met try that tibok tibok. I love that!

    Nov 9, 2008 | 7:23 pm

  34. Erlinda says:

    MM, F and Family:


    Nov 9, 2008 | 8:50 pm

  35. Katrina says:

    F, I am terribly sorry for your family’s loss. I hope you didn’t mind Marketman’s posting your e-mail, because it served as a reminder of how precious yet fleeting life is.

    MM, thank you for bringing out attention to how, no matter how seemingly insignificant, our actions do matter. I’m sure you never thought that your posts on food or cooking implements would bring some moments of levity to someone thousands of miles away…and that should remind us all that even our tiniest acts of kindness, selfishness, caring, or carelessness, can have an impact we never expected.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 10:39 pm

  36. greasemonkey says:

    sumalangit nawa ang kapatid ni F.. may the food that we share strengthen us so that we may play our part in His plan. =) i feel blessed to have discovered this community. ingat po kayong lahat.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 10:41 pm

  37. mardie c",) says:

    mr. F our thoughts and prayers to you and your family for the loss of your brother. and bless this site for bringing smiles to your brother when he was still alive. im sure right now he will get the answers to any questions he may have from Him up above. MM, you truly are a blessing from heaven not only to the kids you unselfishly feed but also to the sick, the lonely and the homesick people like me. padayona ang maayo nimong gibuhat.

    Nov 9, 2008 | 11:26 pm

  38. betty q. says:

    Mary Joan…Yup. even baking powder has a shelf life lalo na if it’s not properly stored….And Wheat flour, Marisse….there is WHEAT STARCH which is what I use to make the shrimp dumpling wrapper(Har gow) in dim sum…not the same as WHEAT FLOUR. I am blind as a bat without my glasses and in Asian grocery stores, they sell those packaged starches and flours side by side pa so I can easily pick up the wrong package if I don’t have my glasses on!

    Sayang…did you have to chuck away the ube pukoy? ( PUKOY- according to DADD-F’s son…refers to PUTO with TIKOY texture!!)If it turned manageable enough…I would have scooped up the “PUKOY” gathered into a small balls, make an indentation big enough to hold HALEYA in the center and formed it into a ball and rolled it into coconut mixed with sesame seeds and sugar….much like palitao OR roll the filled PUKOY in sesame seeds and fried it like BUTCHI! Hey, did you know that great tasting things are usually born out of FLUKES? My chocolate cake is a result of a FLUKE!!!!

    Nov 10, 2008 | 7:17 am

  39. hchie says:

    Marketman, you’re blog does touch peoples lives. You won’t believe it but at times, your blog comes up as a topic of conversation when we get together and talk food.

    Nov 10, 2008 | 8:19 am

  40. Ley says:

    You sure touch lives MM. My hubby, for one, would be willing to make a testimony anytime on how you have made me passionate about cooking. Before I got hooked with your blog, my hubby would always indirectly chide me about not cooking in the house and being busy at the office was always a convenient excuse. Then i got to know you and your readers, especially betty q, whose passion for cooking is contagious. I tried several of your recipes and was successful 90% of the time. When hubby and I had carbonara in one of the better Italian restaurants in Cebu, he told me my carbonara was better. Of course it was your recipe I faithfully followed. One time, we got invited to a kiddie party at pizzahut and my 4year old daughter blurted out after the party “I like you pizza better mom.” That was after your post on the pizza you made at your resort. When my hubby read your post on putong ube, he bought me an expensive steamer because I told him I would try the recipe. It was such a huge success that we served the puto to the kids in our village during the halloween. One of our neighbors even asked from where I bought the puto and I proudly declared I made it myself.

    So yes MM, you do touch lives far more than you may have imagined.

    Nov 10, 2008 | 8:49 am

  41. Christine Tham says:

    Your blog is wonderful and alot of inspirations to give.

    Nov 10, 2008 | 3:13 pm

  42. Jing says:

    With the lives that touch us and the lives that we touch, may we realize that each moment is worthwhile and making a difference happens even when we did not intend it to. How I wish our actions always have positive outcomes just like MMs but then, we could try harder, can’t we?
    I, too, feel bound to this ‘blog family’ even if i seldom leave comments. MM’s writing is very commendable and the reader’s comments make it more interesting.
    To F and family, my condolences and prayers. In your grief I know you will feel the warmth of prayers from all over.
    For the little boy and his family, may you be strengthened by our prayers.

    Nov 10, 2008 | 3:41 pm

  43. esquire says:

    A dear aunt passed away 2 weeks ago of the same kind of leukemia, just 3 short months after she was diagnosed. She loved to cook and eat too. She would have loved your blog. It’s just too bad I never got the chance to tell her about it. Didn’t get to tell her lots of other things.

    Nov 10, 2008 | 3:59 pm

  44. mae cecille says:

    Hindi ko man naiintindihan ang lahat ng nakasulat sa liham, napaiyak pa din ako. Marketman, nawa’y ipagpatuloy mo ang iyong magandang gawain.

    Nov 10, 2008 | 7:15 pm

  45. erbie says:

    F, i would include your brother in my prayers.
    One of the many wonders of the internet is that it allows an avenue for a community to flourish, we may not know the faces, we may not see the actual person, but we feel and empathize with them at a more sincere level than we usually do offline.I would like to congratulate and thank Mr. MM for giving us a lot,not only for the savory, tasty,food section but for sharing to us his life.All the aspects of it.I for one love the travels and the business education part.Thank you MM.For those of you who have the time to watch movies try looking out for Densha Otoko.Its a prime example of what we have here.

    Nov 10, 2008 | 10:53 pm

  46. Rowi says:

    What makes your blog, MM unique is the lives you touch and you have touched a thousand and more lives through your readers and your everyday involvement with people. Thank you for publishing F’s mail. I was so touched and moved that I couldnt help shed some tears at such tragedy.

    But as I read the comments of fellow readers as they too were touched by the loss of F’s brother, I couldn’t help but be amused as I read and became curious at the Puto Ube/Kutsinta discussions interspersed among the condoleances. It is so Pinoy – despite the tragedy in our lives, there is still room for a slight banter, and so MarketManila as you generously allow these discussions and other reflections to come forward.

    Nov 10, 2008 | 11:17 pm

  47. dhayL says:

    It’s just unexplainable on how something seems so simple, can be so powerful….In this case an individual like MM who decided to put up a blog to be able to share and showcase his love for food, recipes, his market and restaurants adventures and so on could provide happiness and touch other people’s lives is beyond imagineable…We may not be aware of all the work and preparations involved in each and every entry that’s been put up to make this website running, but we want you to know that we all appreciate all the hard work you, your family and your crews have done to make everything possible…Maybe saying thank you is not enough to show our gratitude, but certainly an email just like that of F’s is a perfect perfect way to say how much we appreciate all this, thank you so much MM, you deserve it!

    My prayers are with you F….

    Nov 11, 2008 | 2:45 am

  48. MarketFan says:

    We share the good times and the bad. I think this is the essence of the marketmanila blog. We sympathize with somebody who is going through a difficult time and at the same time discuss the merits of ube puto and kuchinta. Can’t help but put a smile on my face :-)

    Nov 11, 2008 | 12:22 pm

  49. Didi says:


    Nov 11, 2008 | 5:25 pm

  50. ApplesH says:

    im tearing up reading this.

    Nov 11, 2008 | 6:09 pm

  51. teth says:

    Iyak ako. Nakakatouch naman.

    Nov 12, 2008 | 12:51 pm

  52. Lady Who Lounges says:

    it’s like that old sufi story from the book “all i really need to know, i learned in kindergarten” by robert fulghum: we don’t know how we touch other people’s lives, just by our mere presence, by being who we are. and vice versa. life is so beautiful, if we would only open our eyes and wake up to the fact that we’re alive!

    i agree with the others, mm—this is so much more than a food blog. thanks for your shining and generous spirit :)

    Nov 12, 2008 | 1:12 pm

  53. sonia says:

    Just want to let you know that I started visiting your site AFTER I lost my daughter last year. When you’re drained and you just want to not feel the loss and the anguish, you would choose to go to a site that doesn’t tell you “how to get over …” And your site has been a source of lightness and some really yummy recipes.

    Nov 12, 2008 | 2:00 pm

  54. Maki says:

    Where can I find the story about the fishpan and boneholder?
    Thank you…

    Nov 12, 2008 | 7:43 pm

  55. Maki says:

    I don’t know much about Mr. MM yet.. but i am really proud of him

    Nov 12, 2008 | 7:44 pm

  56. Marketman says:

    Maki, original fishpan post here, but I have to say many comments were deleted as they were inappropriate and potentially slanderous so it may not read as well as it did in the original form, and here was the follow-up post. The boneholder post here. There are other tough rants in the archives that seem to get the most readership attention…

    Nov 13, 2008 | 10:15 am

  57. maria says:

    it’s a good feeling eh? like it or not, you have found a treasure in what you’re doing. like it or not, you have made a difference marketman.

    ang sarap ano? smile smile…i hope that this will move you forward and strengthen your resolve to get your book out in the market. you have discovered, i think, a better way to — hmmm — make the common thread we share even more significant.

    i hope that you won’t feel any pressure…just…wallow in the fact that…my gosh…i have to say it again…you’ve made a difference.

    Nov 13, 2008 | 11:12 am

  58. Maki says:

    Thanks for the link MM. tho I haven’t check the bone holder thinggy yet… Anyway…. That girl Mylai? Maly? heheh… she’s the one who sucks…

    You know what MM, I am leaving alone with my sister here in Cebu, At an early age my parents gave me a lot of responsibilities already, (not to mention, I am financing my 2 sisters and a cousin with their schooling)(My parents separated tho, and we are not well off) I am just 21, but its okay as long as there is a reason to smile and foods to eat… I love eating, That is why when there are foods new to me, I immediately search them to google…. That is why I am here since I was browsing about Silvanas. Funny yet true, it was my first time to taste it yesterday and I found a blog about Silvanas here. Wa jud ko nag tuo nga malingaw ko aning site ni Mr. MM… ty… I am a fan already…

    Nov 13, 2008 | 12:32 pm


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